Fong Lee

Remember Fong Lee?  Lee was a 19-year-old Minnesota man who was shot eight times by a Minnesota police officer.  The police claimed he had a gun.  A gun was recovered by the body but mysteriously it had no fingerprints or DNA evidence linking it to Lee.  In addition, the gun had been in police possession just before the shooting.  The police officer received a medal for his actions.

Here is an update from Slant Eye for the Round Eye:

While some of you may know about this case, some of you probably don’t – but if you care about how law enforcement looks at members of the API community – I’ll just ask that you listen, and that if you can, help spread the word about the case as well as the upcoming press conference and rally being held this Saturday, October 2nd at 2:00 PM.

Background Information (From The Press Release)

On July 22, 2006, Hmong teenager Fong Lee was with a group of friends riding bikes near the North Minneapolis Cityview Elementary School when Minneapolis police officers chased them across the playground. Officer Jason Andersen shot Fong Lee eight times, in the back, side, and then five more shots into Lee’s chest as he lay on the ground. Andersen stated he was justified in the killing, claiming that Lee pointed a gun at him. He was cleared by the MPD’s internal investigation even though neighborhood eyewitnesses were not interviewed, many of whom contradicted the police officers’ version of events in community press reports.

In 2009 the family of Fong Lee brought a wrongful death lawsuit again the City of Minneapolis and Jason Andersen, citing surveillance cameras that showed Fong Lee did not have a gun and evidence that demonstrated that the gun found at the scene had been in police custody, suggesting that the gun had been planted.

When an all-white jury found that Andersen had not used “excessive force” in killing 19-year old Fong Lee, community members held numerous rallies to continue to demand justice in what they saw as a police cover-up. The family has since appealed to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for a new trial, which has been denied. Now, under the representation of Hilliard, Muñoz, and Gonzales, the family of Fong Lee is taking their case to the Supreme Court, in hopes that national attention will result in a new trial of this egregious police action.

Jason Andersen was first in the media’s eye with his shooting death of Fong Lee but he has remained a contentious member of the Minneapolis police force. In September 2009 Police Chief Tim Dolan fired Andersen for violating the department’s ethics policy because of a dropped domestic assault charge. A state arbitrator returned Andersen to the force after the police union grieved the firing. Andersen is currently being indicted on federal charges for allegedly abusing a black teenager while part of the notorious and now-defunct Metro Gang Strike Force. On September 22, 2010 he was fired for a second time for violating the department’s code on “truthfulness” about this incident in which he allegedly kicked the teen in the head.

So Let’s Recap

  • Asian American youth shot eight times, five times after he was already on the ground.
  • The gun that police say was pointed at them (later retracted in a statement from last year), and was Fong Lee’s – its history is suspect at best – and at worst was already in police custody for two years before the shooting and planted next to Lee. And just in case you were wondering, the gun also had “no fingerprints, smudge marks, or any other evidence linking it to Fong Lee“.
  • It wasn’t a jury that had at least some Asian Americans or other POC on it who decided that excessive force wasn’t used. It was an all-white jury.
  • The police officer in question has a history of abuse on the job.

Going To The Supreme Court

So what’s happening now? It’s being taken all the way to the Supreme court with a rally and press conference happening this weekend at the same school where Fong Lee was killed.

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA SEPTEMBER 28, 2010

PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLY: FAMILY OF SLAIN TEEN FONG LEE APPEALING CASE TO SUPREME COURT

CONTACT:
Janelle Yang, 952-201-0383
Justice for Fong Lee Committee, 612-424-1166
justiceforfonglee@gmail.com

WHAT: Press Conference and Rally to announce the Lee family’s decision to appeal their wrongful death suit against Jason Andersen and the Minneapolis Police Department to the Supreme Court. The Lee family has retained the law firm Hilliard, Muñoz, Gonzales (http://hmglawfirm.com/) in the shooting death of their teenage son Fong Lee by Minneapolis police officer Jason Andersen, who was recently fired because of a federal indictment in another brutality charge.

WHEN: Saturday, October 2, 2:00 p.m.

WHERE:
Cityview Elementary School, where Fong Lee was killed.
3350 North 4th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55412

WHO: This press conference is being organized by the Justice for Fong Lee Committee and the family of Fong Lee. Family members and Janelle Yang, the legal contact for the family, will be making statements about the appeal. Community organizations and leaders will also be making statements of support.

WHY: The family and community were shocked and angered by the 2009 verdict in their wrongful death suit as well as the district court’s recent denial for an appeal. They view these decisions as part of a growing pattern of police misconduct and lack of accountability in the Twin Cities. Under new representation from the firm Hilliard, Muñoz, Gonzales, the Lee family is appealing their wrongful death suit to the Supreme Court.

Statement from the attorney:

“Amidst the recent news of Minneapolis Police Officer Jason Andersen being fired for the second time in his career for lying about events when he was accused of kicking a teenager in the head while a member of the Gang Strike Force, the family of another of Andersen’s nineteenyear-old victims, Fong Lee, is petitioning for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn the Eighth Circuit Court’s recent decision refusing to award Fong Lee’s family damages after he was shot 8 times by the officer. There are a number of issues in the case
that warrant Supreme Court review and perhaps we can bring a rogue officer to justice.”

Final Word

While the facts of cases can always be disputed, you have to ask the question of how much did race play a part in the shooting and killing of Fong Lee. You have to ask the question of what really is the history of the gun and why there was no blood, fingerprints, or anything else connecting it to him. You have to ask the question of how fair was it in a case which has so many inconsistencies that it wasn’t a more diverse jury that came down with the verdict.

And at this point, at this juncture, you have to ask yourself the question of if it deserves to be looked at again — and at least for me – I have to say yes.

 

Other coverage at resistracism:

No ‘happily ever after’

Is three the charm?

As well they should

8 thoughts on “Fong Lee

  1. My brother lives in North Minneapolis, though I like the city just like everywhere in the US there is a lot of racism there. I liked the article that you wrote.

  2. Recently the police in Minneapolis killed another young Asian man with tasers. At least they are going to stop using tasers as much now.

  3. I can honestly say that I am sadden by this story. Who would think that after all that this country has gone through that we still have these kind of racist problems happening in our own neighbors. What would our forefathers think? I hope that Fong’s family finds the justice that they are seeking because he did not deserve to die like that.

  4. this saddens me..not only are there people out of the united states want to attack us.,.there are even people with the states that swore to protect the people of the united states that are attacking us..if we cant trust our own people who are we going to trust..and those are the ppl that are suppose to help and protect us…

  5. I never knew how wrong and corrupted this world can be until I came upon some videos posted in Youtube’s website on fong lee’s case, which happened back in 2006. I believe that there are good cops out there, good people, as well as corrupted cops and unprotected citizens. I careless if it was a gangster deal, I know for a fact that the many years of attending colleges for a degree in becoming a judge was like American Pie’s to them to be using such a ridiculous jury system in fong’s case and every wrongful cases these days. Or maybe they’re just racist and blind to not even consider the evidence given to them about the gun that shows no trace of fong’s dna, but was possessed by police 2 years before his incident, especially when possession of the gun reported by one of the pigs that were at the scene; how the f u c k would a teenage boy get into the popo’s bank full of illegal and stolen weapons? why the f u c k would you shoot a man who is down 8 FUCKEN times so that he doesn’t get up to shoot you back? Cops are (OR SHOULD BE) trained in some sort of defense classes. Cops are not to panic. Scared, but not panic. Therefore, I am saying that mr.fuckedupRacist cop is guilty, and judgeDumbass is wrong and immature.
    I can’t believe how they cleared mr.fuckedupRacist cop. I want to fight for this, on behalf of fong, our Hmong people, the world, and for justice. The law needs to be adjusted. Unfortunately, I did not now of such tragedy until today. PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS CASE!!!

  6. Well, I said basically the same thing in the recaps of this article. But, at least it shows that SOME JUDGE AND INCONSIDERATE PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE THE ONES TO GIVE JUSTICE IF FACTS WERE INDEED TRUE OF NO TRACE FROM FONG AND LEGIT CUSTODY REPORT OF THE GUN ITSELF. What a disgrace. The ones who you would call for help is only helping you to hate the ruling and law system used by these dumb racist government. I’m so mad. Please tell me where can I stand in as a part of this? I must fight for whats right.

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